Review: Mancunian legends Graham Massey and Andy Barker reunite for the first 808 State album in 17 years. They recorded the new opus "Transmission Suite" in the Granada studios (where they once performed live on television 30 years ago) and looked to their hometown's club scene as their main source of influence - along with the timeless aesthetic of Detroit which has always influenced their style. Across this collection of "sonic landscapes" (as described by Massey) you'll hear the booming acid electro of first single "Tokyo Tokyo" and "The Ludwig Question", through to off-kilter jams like "Westland", futurist house grooves of "Ujala" and a modern reboot of classic "Angol Argol".
Review: Is Stephen Duffy the UK's most underrated songwriter? Well, quite possibly, yes. It takes commitment and passion to lead a band for 30 years, especially when the outfit's line-up changes come thick and fast. Despite the inconsistent players, though, in that time the man at the centre of it all has built a back catalogue of exquisite work during that time. "Return To Us" isn't going to ruin that track record. It plays out like a parable of lilting folk fables underscored by a sense of nostalgia, delivered through the voice and song craft of a man whose life experiences have left him bruised and worn but never down and out. Melodic, emotive and engrossing, LP number ten is as timeless as the previous nine, leaving nobody under any illusions as to how precious this project really is.
Igor Zhukovsky & MRR Drumetrics - "Pongtron" (1:36)
Kinny - "Water For Chocolate" (feat Souldrop) (3:43)
Magic In Threes - "Measly Peace" (3:10)
Kazumi Kaneda - "Uncertain" (3:24)
Twit One - "Tibb's Nightmare" (3:04)
Review: DJ Oonops is back by popular demand. After the first volume of his Oonops Drops compilation got snapped up by lovers of exotic sounds, he returns with a second edition that is just as jam packed with heat from the worlds of dub, funk, soul, jazz and beats. Some artists will be known to reoccur diggers, some are brand new, but they all come correct. The well sequenced selection sinks you deep into swaggering dub, raises your spirits with some great flute playing and invites you into some subterranean jazz lounge, amongst many other things. This is the sort of shortcut collection that allows you to show off to friends after someone else has done all the hard work.
Review: When is a psychedelic rock album not a psychedelic rock album? Anyone who has quickly scrawled answer-on-postcard reads "when it's Temples" can go straight to the top of the class. Evidently you have been paying attention over the course of the British three piece's last two full length records. It's not that things don't sound pretty out there and trippy. All the elements to achieve that are here, but the accessibility is ramped up to the level of a pop album, with arrangements owing more to traditional song craft than anything particularly experimental. Don't read that as criticism, though. Tracks like "Not Quite The Same" are huge, proud, instantly catchy but far from obvious numbers. "You're Either On Something" thumps and lunges through its various permutations, "Atomise" pares everything back, luring us in, before opening up into a frantic, grunge-metal guitar line. We can only imagine the fun they had recording it.
Review: London DJ Paul Murphy has been entertaining jazz dancers since the late 1970s and is rightly cited by Gilles Peterson (amongst others) as a major influence. Here he offers up a taste of the up-tempo dancefloor jazz he's been championing for the last four decades via a fine compilation named after his once regular club night, Jazz Room. There's plenty of Latin jazz and fusion present (see Art Pepper's "Mambo de la Pinta", Lucas Van Merwijk's "4Beat Cha Cha Cha" and Terje Terasmaa's "Yatra-Ta") as well as African-influenced workouts (see the cuts by Rhythmagic Orchestra and Mamelon), the odd classic (Art Ensemble of Chicago) and a handful of more recent cuts, including an inspired jazz cover of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Blue Mode.
Me! I Diconnect From You (BBC Peel Session) (3:07)
Down In The Park (BBC Peel Session) (4:18)
I Nearly Married A Human (BBC Peel Session) (6:38)
Review: Beggars Banquet turn to their Arkive arm for this 40th anniversary edition of Tubeway Army's classic early works. "The First Recordings", from 1979 has been identically sequenced as the original release with early versions of the tracks. Alongside hits "Replicas" and "Are "Friends" Electric?", our picks of the batch are "Me! I Disconnect From You", an archetypal deadpan delivery with mechanical grooves, the grungy and rock-laced "Only A Downstat" and lovable robo-pop "We Have A Technical".
Review: Holden's 2006 debut album was an astonishing one that gets a timely reissue on double crystal-clear splatter vinyl. A high watermark for proudly synthetic and computer made music, it was the bold arrival of an artist who endures as an innovator to this day. "The Idiots Are Winning" is a masterclass in unhinged grooves, glitchy electronic sounds and mutant sounds that set a new benchmark in experimental textures, sound design and dance floor clout. "Idiot" is the standout banger, "Lump" is more trippy and heat workout, and "10101" is the twitchy and mesmeric workout you cannot escape. Music as idiosyncratic as this doesn't come along too often, and even 13 years left it still sounds fresh.
Review: There's a chance this Liverpudlian four piece will be familiar by now. This, their 11th studio outing, first unveiled as the 1960s slipped into the 70s, is a bonafide epic from an outfit that weren't lacking in epics; in many ways a culmination of their time together, marking the end of their active years and beginning of their legacy. By this stage, then, they've emerged from years spent on the inner journey and time on the outer, space cadeting to the hallucinogenic fuelled tones of "Sgt. Peppers" and "Revolver". Of course, there's still plenty of explorations happening, but the gritty blues rock of opening track "Come Together" really sets the tone. Five decades on, it still sounds great and maybe even better than you remember. Even if you own the original, this anniversary edition is worth having.
Review: Two years ago, Diiv founder Z Cole Smith checked himself into rehab for "long haul inpatient treatment" for unspecified substance abuse. It's this treatment that provides the backdrop to "Deceiver", the band's third album (which, incidentally, is also the first written by all four members). Musically, it's a typically emotionally charged and glassy-eyed affair, offering tracks that touch on shoegaze, Pixies-style indie-rock, post-grunge and more. Lyrically, Smith's personal "resurrection" and experiences of rehabilitation play a key role, with many of the songs narratives offering a dialogue between old and new versions of himself. This particular limited edition version of the album is beautifully packaged, too, coming on marbled grey vinyl with various inserts and obi-strips.